THE Howardian Hills are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. After being repulsed by vegetation and crops on a walk out of Terrington, I thought AONB might expand as Area of Outstandingly Nullified Byways. Later in the week we tried again from Terrington and hit on a real winner.

It was a lovely evening, we watched hundreds of masonry bees excavating the soft sandstone of a gable end, chortled at a dollop of doggerel on the subject of dog dirt and strode off down a dead-end lane.

Soon, after five minutes slashing at nettles (don't wear shorts) we had the topographical picture and the pleasure of spacious views off the southern edge of the hills over a disc of very flat ground. A few miles away stand the craggy remnants of Sheriff Hutton Castle, a dozen miles distant are the towers of York Minster and beyond these cooling towers.

We dropped down from Mowthorpe Hill on to the flats and immediately settled into the grass to watch a barn owl hunting; this cost us a precious half an hour of daylight. But the next mile was dead-straight, dead-flat, dead-easy, but weird; the sensation of crossing this extraordinarily level and hill-encircled land most unusual.

They look after their horses hereabouts, there are mown strips of gallops, but it was clear that walkers are not so valued. When we came to a major junction, where we left the Ebor Way and joined the Centenary Way, a field of shoulder-high rape blocked the path. Luckily a walker had been before us, and had battered through the hundred-yard connection.

I have three pleas. To farmers - please rapidly reinstate cross-crop paths, don't rub salt in the wounds of foot and mouth. To the citizens of York - reclaim the Ebor Way. To council workers - proudly march the Centenary Way (on strike days perhaps), after all it celebrates a century of modern local government.

We climbed out on to the escarpment and continued up, then crunched the gravel through High Stittenham, a very des-res hamlet, and then strolled down the other side into the shadow of Mowthorpe Hill, and that was the last of the sun. It was lovely - fancy sheep, little brick bridge, fish pond, and finally the full length of Mowthorpe Lane with the sky pink above the faraway moors.

Fact file

Distance: Six miles.

Time: Three hours.

General Location: Howardian Hills.

Start: Terrington.

Right of Way: The complete route is along public rights of way.

Date walked: Thursday, July 11, 2002.

Road Route: From York via Sheriff Hutton.

Car Parking: Roadside and along Mowthorpe Lane.

Lavatories: None.

Refreshments: Caf (closed Sunday afternoon). The Bay Horse pub.

Tourist & public transport information: Malton TIC 01653 600048.

Map: Based on OS Explorer 300 Howardian Hills.

Terrain: Escarpment and ings.

Points of interest: The last 1 miles are on dead-end road and farm track. Lavender farm.

Difficulty: Moderate but overgrown for short lengths at moment.

Dogs: Suitable.

Weather forecast: Evening Press and recorded forecast 0891 500 418

Please observe the Country Code and park sensibly. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers set out at their own risk.


When in doubt look at the map. Check your position at each point. Keep straight on unless otherwise directed.

1. From between pub and caf, along Mowthorpe Lane.

2. Pass cemetery, 200 yards, stile/fieldgate on right (waymark), cross field.

3. Fieldgate and left to field-edge path. Stile/fieldgate into young wood, keep up by hedge/fence until you meet a good stone track then right downhill, to right of house, left of barn, left 50 yards by end of garden, right to field-edge path (so hedge to left).

4. Left at stream, 200 yards, right over bridge to track.

5. At bend, left across area that was cleared area and across field heading for left-hand corner of wood (Note: was oilseed rape and no waymark), left for 25 yards by high hedge, right at post uphill, ten yards, left to grassy track uphill.

6. At fieldgate on left, half right across field (flattened crop) to corner of wood, 20 yards by thicket, small gate and uphill (waymark). Right to skirt converted barn, fieldgate, gravel drive, first right to pass in front of house and drive swings left to road.

7. Left to road. Fieldgate after Wood End Farm and stay on track (gates).

8. Left fork off grassy track down to corner of wood, fieldgate and straight on keeping up by hedge to right.

9. Bridge, uphill for 200 yards, stile/fieldgate on right (waymark), stile/fieldgate and left to track (gates), left in yard to track/road back to Terrington.

Updated: 08:46 Saturday, July 20, 2002

Click here to view a map of the walk